Flurry of bills aim to set limits on transgender kids – and their doctors

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02/14/2021

Sam Edelman felt like a girl for as long as he could remember, his dad said. As Sam’s 18th birthday approached, and after years of researching hormone treatments, the high school senior scheduled an appointment with a doctor who treats transgender people. It was a big step for Sam, a musician, a runner, a snowboarder and a taekwondo black belt who still identified as a boy at that point and had shared his secret only with his family and closest confidants. The doctor said Sam was too young and thought it unlikely that any doctor would treat the Bozeman, Montana, teen for the same reason. Ten months later, on Feb. 20, 2016, Sam died by suicide. “Sam was devastated,” said Adam Edelman, Sam’s father, recalling that visit with the doctor. “He lost hope.” As legislatures meet across the U.S. to write new laws, at least 16 states are considering measures that would affect transgender athletes or those seeking treatment for gender dysphoria — the persistent and distressing feeling that one’s gender is different from the sex noted on the person’s birth certificate. This wave of state legislation follows 79 anti-transgender measures introduced in statehouses last year.

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